created by Glenn Tamashiro

Hello and welcome. This site was developed to keep you informed about the various lessons and activities that are held in our Government/Economics and Honors Government/AP Macroeconomics classes.


Gov: Current Events

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Current Events is an integral component to studying and applying the fundamentals of United States government and the political system. The idea is to afford you the opportunity to follow important events and issues arising in the United States and provide commentary and insight, making connections to Government course content.



APMacro: Forecasting


Gov: Road to Independence

English colonists brought their ideas about government to the American colonies. When the first colonists arrived in North America, the idea of limited government was not unheard of. The colonists drafted and signed the Mayflower Compact, which stood as an example of colonial plans for self-government. Each of the thirteen colonies wrote a constitution, elected representatives to a legislature, and separated the powers of the executive and legislative branches. The colonists grew accustomed to governing themselves. After the British won the costly French and Indian War, King George III levied taxes on goods purchased in the colonies. The colonists protested. In retaliation, Parliament harshly reduced the rights of colonists. Colonial leaders began to work together to take political action against British oppression. The first battle of the Revolutionary War occurred in 1775, and delegates at the Second Continental Congress assumed the powers of the central government. On July 4, 1776, the colonies broke from British rule after signing the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence announced to the world the decision of the thirteen American colonies to separate themselves from Great Britain. Its true revolutionary significance is the declaration of a basis of political legitimacy in the sovereignty of the people. The Declaration has three parts: the Preamble, a list of charges against King George III, and a conclusion. The Preamble summarizes the fundamental principles of American self-government. The list of charges against the king presents examples of the violation of those principles. The conclusion calls for duty, action, and sacrifice.


President’s Day

Washington’s Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and is commonly referred to as Presidents’ Day.


APMacro: Business Cycle

Economies are always changing. Economies experience recurring periods of growth and decline in economic activity. This recurring pattern is called the business cycle. The business cycle consists of four phases. These phases include a period of growth and a period of decline as well as the turning points that mark the shift from one period to the next.

A period of economic growth is known as an expansion. During this phase of the business cycle, economic activity generally increases from month to month. The longest expansion of the U.S. economy lasted a decade, but expansions typically run out in three to five years. The point at which the expansion ends marks the peak of the business cycle. At that peak, economic activity has reached its highest level. The peak also marks the start of a decline in economic activity. Economists do not know when a peak is occurring until they look back at the economic data.At that time they designate one month as the peak phase.

Following the peak comes the contraction phase of the business cycle. A contraction is a period of general economic decline marked by a falling GDP and rising unemployment. One of the longest contractions on record (43 months) occurred at the start of the Great Depression. However, since 1945, contractions have averaged about 10 months. The lowest point of a contraction is called the trough. Like the peak, the trough marks a turning point. Once the economy hits bottom, a new expansion begins.

The term business cycle implies that expansions and contractions occur at regular, predictable intervals. But, the opposite is true. Business cycles are irregular in both length and severity. This makes peaks and troughs difficult to predict. Nonetheless, economists attempt to do that using three economic indicators: GDP, inflation rate, and unemployment rate. Economists categorized the indicators they use to track the business cycle based on whether they signal a future change, an ongoing change, or a change that has already begun.



Gov: Roots of American Democracy

Roots of Democracy
The traditions and principles of English government had a great influence on political views in the colonies. Although the colonists eventually rebelled against British rule, they had great respect for Britain’s constitutional system. This system was based on a set of laws, customs, and practices that limited the powers of government and guaranteed the people certain basic rights. The seeds for the idea of limited government first appeared in the Magna Carta of 1215. In 1689, Parliament passed the English Bill of Rights, which set clear limits on the monarch. In fact, one reason the colonists rebelled was to secure the “rights of Englishmen” that they believed had been denied to them.

Colonial leaders were also strongly influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment, an intellectual movement of the 1600s and 1700s. Enlightenment thinkers stressed the value of science and reason, not only for studying the natural world, but also for improving human society and government.

Two key figures of the early Enlightenment were the English philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Both men helped develop the social-contract theory, which stated that people in society agreed to give up some of their freedom to governments in exchange for security and order. Two French thinkers also made major contributions to political thought during the Enlightenment. One was Charles-Louis de Secondat, more commonly known as Baron de Montesquieu. The other was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The colonists gathered ideas about government from many sources and traditions. But these ideas did not all come from the study of ancient history or European philosophy. They were also shaped by the colonists’ everyday experiences of life in colonial America.


APMacro: Gross Domestic Product

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The main measure of the size of a nation’s economy is its gross domestic product. GDP is an economic indicator that measures a country’s total economic output. Gross domestic product is the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country during a given period of time. A steadily growing GDP is generally considered a sign of economic health. The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis has the job of measuring GDP.

Our economy produces a vast variety of goods and services. The Bureau of Economic Analysis attaches a market value to each product. Market value is the price buyers are willing to pay for a good or service in a competitive marketplace.

GDP is based on the market price of every final good or service that can be sold in a country. A final good is any new good that is ready for use by a consumer. Goods that are used in the production of final goods are known as intermediate goods. Their market value is not counted in GDP because it is included in the market value of the final good.

Goods and services must be produced within the country’s border to be included in GDP. The firms that produce the goods and services do not have to be American owned. Cars manufactured in the United States by foreign automakers are included in the United States’ GDP.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates the GDP every quarter or three month period. Economists use the calendar year GDP to compare production from year to year or from country to country. This annual GDP includes all final goods and services produced between January 1st and December 31st. Goods do not have to be sold during that period to be included in GDP.

Economists calculate GDP by measuring expenditures on goods and services produce in a country. They divide the economy into four sectors: households, businesses, government, and foreign trade. Each sector’s sending make up one of the four components of GDP: household consumption (C), business investment (I), government spending (G), and the net of exports minus imports (X). Putting it together, the formula for calculating GDP is:

GDP = C + I + G + X

Household consumption, “C”, consists of goods and services bought by people in households for personal use. Household consumption ranges from food and fuel to movie tickets and medical care.

Business investment, “I”, consists largely of business investment in capital goods, such as buildings and machinery. It also includes goods produced but not yet sold.

Government spending, “G”, on the purchases of goods and services are also included in GDP. We do not count government transfer payments, such as welfare or Social Security benefits, as part of GDP. These payments do not create new production, nor do they involve the purchase of goods or services by the government.

In calculating the impact of trade on GDP, we focus on net exports, “X”. Net exports are the value of all exports minus imports. This makes sense because when a country exports goods and services, those exports bring money back home. The sale of these goods increases the exporting country’s GDP. However, the opposite happens when a country imports goods and services. The money used to pay for these imports leaves the economy, thus decreasing the importing country’s GDP. Net exports can be either positive or negative. When exports exceed imports, net exports are positive and increase GDP. When imports exceed exports, net exports are negative and decrease GDP.